U Maun Kyaw Win, 57, is a Community Volunteer supporting the Red Cross in Min Hla, a fishing village a few miles up-river from the town of Sittwe, capital of Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state.

U Maun Kyaw Win supported distribution and training for Red Cross livelihoods cash grants, part of programme helping communities impacted by flooding, cyclical violence and population movement in Rakhine.

“As a community volunteer I am the connection between the Red Cross and the people here in the village.

When the Red Cross field officer wants to come here, I let the people in the community know what is happening. If there is information that needs to be shared with people – like when meetings or trainings are happening, or what project plans are – then I help with that too.

We are often affected by cyclones and flooding – the village is right next to the river so flooding is a real problem. Sometimes the water can be several feet deep inside the village and its really tough for people.

When the Red Cross were running training on making business plans for grant recipients I helped with that and also with the household economic assessments.

I applied for a grant to support my family’s weaving business but we didn’t qualify.

Even though I didn’t get the grant I was happy to see other people getting the money.

The support from the Red Cross was very effective and good for the people here. The people who fish bought more nets – some people who only had one net now have three, they are able to catch three times as many fish as before and they have tripled their daily income.

The people who invested in fishing and weaving, their earnings have definitely gone up.

Now they can afford to cover their basic needs, they can have all their meals each day, and can afford to have meat when they want it. People are also able to use the money to cover medical bills when they need to, and to send their children to school. The livelihoods support has had an impact across people’s whole lives.

As a Community Volunteer I meet lots of people from around the village and I can really see the difference these grants have made to people.”